We have just returned from a wonderful vacation in Australia, so naturally thoughts of travel are on my mind. Travel is for Pam and I a precious privilege, and one that we do not take lightly. We are fortunate to be able to see so many new places, and meet so many new people.

But no matter where in the world we go, there is always one person that we are bound meet: ourselves. I read a story a long time ago that has stuck with me for many years. A simple story that illustrates this simple truth. It goes like this:

In a place far away there lived a wise old man at the edge of a city. Early one morning a traveler approached who asked him what the people who lived in his city were like. The old man responded with a question: “What are the people like where you come from?”

“The people where I come from are greedy and mean, boring and arrogant. Whenever two of us get together it usually ends in a quarrel. That is why I left.” The man shook his head and sighed: “What bad luck you are having, for I’m afraid you will find people here much the same way.”

Later in the day the old man greeted another traveler who asked the same question: “What are the people like in your city?” The old man replied as before, “What are the people like where you come from?”

“Oh, the people where I come from are wonderful. They are generous and energetic, kind and understanding. Whenever two or three of us get together, the joy we feel at being in each other’s presence is multiplied and overflows into laughter and sometimes music and dance.” The old man replied, “What good fortune awaits you, for here you will find that people are much the same way.”

May your travels this year take you to places filled with people who are ‘generous and energetic, kind and understanding,’ for then you will be where you should be.

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